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Air Fryer Fried Chicken KFC Copycat

A deliciously moist and authentic copycat KFC Chicken recipe. This Air Fryer fried chicken is golden brown and delicious. It’s soaked in buttermilk for delicious Southern flavor.

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KFC Copycat Air Fryer Fried Chicken

It’s no surprise that fried chicken is one of America’s favorite comfort foods.

However, it can be hard to find a restaurant or fast food joint that offers air fryer chicken.

The good news is you don’t have to wait for your next vacation to get your hands on some crispy, juicy air fryer chicken!

Who doesn’t love Kentucky Fried Chicken? For years, people have been trying to copycat KFC Fried Chicken. Well, this is about the closest you are going to get.

I’ve heard of some saying there is a copycat recipe out there that tastes nothing like KFC.

However, this air fryer Fried Chicken tastes just like it because if it didn’t, my husband wouldn’t eat it. He’s fussy like that. lol

Air Fryer Fried Chicken KFC Copycat

This Air Fryer fried chicken is a healthier and easier version of traditional fried chicken. Soaked in buttermilk, covered in seasoned flour, and air-fried to perfection.

These days with time constraints and kids’ schedules to contend with, cooking an entire meal can seem like a daunting task.

But what if you could make your favorite fried chicken in less time than it takes to preheat the oven? This is where the air fryer comes in handy!

Air Fryer Fried Chicken KFC Copycat

Air frying is a healthy way of cooking, no guilt here! And because air frying doesn’t use any oil at all, after only ten minutes of cooking you’ll have delicious fried food without worrying about grease splattering everywhere.

buttermilk fried chicken air fryer

KFC Spice Blend Ingredients:

  • chicken drumsticks or thighs
  • Buttermilk
  • Eggs
  • Flour
  • Salt
  • Thyme
  • Basil
  • Oregano
  • Celery salt
  • Black pepper
  • Dried mustard
  • Paprika
  • Garlic salt
  • Ground ginger
  • White pepper
  • Oil of choice (peanut or vegetable oil) (for deep frying version)
  • For exact amounts, please see the recipe card below.

What’s the hype about Air Fryers?

In the last few years, air fryers have been gaining momentum as a healthier alternative to deep-frying.

Air frying is a cooking technique that cooks food by circulating hot air around it with a fan.

It’s also easier than using an oven since there’s no need to preheat anything – you can just throw your items into an air fryer basket and cook them up.

The best part of this cooking method is that it reduces the amount of time needed to make your favorite fried foods like French fries, onion rings, wings, and more!

air fryer chicken thighs

What can you cook in an air fryer?

You can cook just about anything in them, from meat and vegetables to desserts!

The list includes chicken wings, french fries, and onion rings and so much more. My air fryer sits on my counter all the time.

I use it from breakfast through dinner for pretty much everything. There really isn’t anything that you can’t put in it.

How to Make KFC Fried Chicken in the Air Fryer

Soak the chicken legs in buttermilk for up to 24 hours before starting this recipe.

Place the eggs in one bowl and the flour and spices in a second bowl. Stir the spices well into the flour and beat the eggs.

Place an oven-safe cooling rack over top of a baking sheet.

Remove chicken one piece at a time from the buttermilk.

Dredge each chicken leg in the flour, then the eggs, and then the flour once again.

Air Fryer Fried Chicken KFC Copycat

Put the coated drumstick on the cooling rack and repeat with the remaining chicken.

copycat kfc chicken in air fryer

Preheat air fryer to 390°.

Place Parchment round in the bottom of the air fryer so the chicken doesn’t stick to the bottom if you have it.

If you don’t that’s fine too.

Lay chicken in a single layer in Ninja Foodi or Air Fryer so the pieces aren’t touching.

Air Fryer Fried Chicken KFC Copycat

Air Fry for 13 minutes. Flip over. If there are any dry spots where the flour is showing, you can spritz with olive oil. Fry for another 13 minutes.

Check that the internal temperature is 165°. If not then cook for 5 minutes at a time until done.

Enjoy!

Air Fryer Fried Chicken KFC Copycat

Deep Fried and Oven Fried Chicken Directions

Preheat oven to 300F

Soak the chicken legs in buttermilk for up to 24 hours before starting this recipe.

Break the eggs in one bowl and the flour and spices in a second bowl. Stir the spices well into the flour and beat the eggs.

Place an oven-safe cooling rack over top of a baking sheet – this will serve two purposes during your recipe.

Remove chicken one piece at a time from the buttermilk.

Dredge each chicken leg in the flour, then the eggs, and then the flour once again.

KFC AIR FRYER FRIED CHICKEN

 Place the coated drumstick on the cooling rack and repeat with the remaining chicken.

copycat kfc chicken in air fryer

 Pour your oil in a large dutch oven or stockpot over medium-high heat. (You can alternatively use a deep fryer.)

KFC AIR FRYER FRIED CHICKEN

Fry the chicken legs in batches of 3 for 2-4 minutes until the coating is golden.

 Remove the chicken to the cooling rack and repeat with the remaining chicken.

KFC COPYCAT CHICKEN

If You are Baking in the Oven

Follow steps and instead of frying in oil, place in oven to bake.

Bake for 35-45 minutes until an inserted thermometer reads 165F.

how to cook chicken leg quarters in the air fryer
air fried kfc copycat chicken
Yield: 10

Air Fryer Fried Chicken KFC Copycat

buttermilk fried chicken air fryer

A deliciously moist and authentic copycat KFC Chicken recipe. This Air Fryer fried chicken is golden brown and delicious. It’s soaked in buttermilk for delicious Southern flavor.

Prep Time 12 hours
Cook Time 26 minutes
Total Time 12 hours 26 minutes

Ingredients

  • 10 chicken drumsticks or thighs
  • 1 cup Buttermilk
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 cups flour
  • 2/3 teaspoon salt
  • Half teaspoon thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon basil
  • 1/3 teaspoon oregano
  • 1 teaspoon celery salt
  • Teaspoon black pepper
  • One teaspoon dried mustard
  • 4 teaspoon paprika
  • 2 teaspoon garlic salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 3 teaspoon white pepper
  • 1 Tablespoon baking powder (optional for crispier skin)

Instructions

  1. Soak the chicken legs in buttermilk for up to 24 hours before starting this recipe.
  2. Beat the eggs in one bowl and the flour and spices in a second bowl. Stir the spices well into the flour and beat the eggs.
  3. Place an oven-safe cooling rack overtop of a baking sheet.
  4. Remove chicken one piece at a time from buttermilk.
  5. Dredge each chicken leg in the flour, then the eggs, and then the flour once again. Place the coated drumstick on the cooling rack and repeat with remaining chicken.
  6. Preheat Air Fryer to 390°.
  7. Place Parchment round in bottom of air fryer so chicken doesn't stick to bottom. 
  8. Lay chicken in a single layer in Ninja Foodie or Air Fryer so the pieces aren't touching.
  9. Air Fry for 13 minutes. Flip over. If there are any dry spots where the flour is showing, you can spritz with olive oil. Fry for another 13 minutes. Check that the internal temperature is 165°. If not then cook for 5 minutes at a time until done.
  10. Enjoy!

Deep Fried & Oven Fried Chicken Directions:

  1. 6+ cups oil of choice (peanut or vegetable oil) (for deep frying version)
  2. Preheat oven to 300F.
  3. Soak the chicken legs in buttermilk for up to 24 hours before starting this recipe.
  4. Break the eggs in one bowl and the flour and spices in a second bowl. Stir the spices well into the flour and beat the eggs.
  5. Place an oven-safe cooling rack overtop of a baking sheet - this will serve two purposes during your recipe.
  6. Remove chicken one piece at a time from buttermilk.
  7. Dredge each chicken leg in the flour, then the eggs, and then the flour once again. Place the coated drumstick on the cooling rack and repeat with remaining chicken.
  8. Pour your oil in a large dutch oven or stockpot over medium-high heat. (You can alternatively use a deep fryer.)
  9. Fry the chicken legs in batches of 3 for 2-4 minutes until the coating is golden. 
  10. Remove the chicken to the cooling rack and repeat with remaining chicken.

If You're Baking in Oven

Folllow steps and instead of frying in oil, place in oven to bake.

Bake for 35-45 minutes until an inserted thermometer reads 165F.

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

3

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 1063Total Fat: 39gSaturated Fat: 11gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 24gCholesterol: 568mgSodium: 2518mgCarbohydrates: 73gFiber: 4gSugar: 5gProtein: 100g

Nutrition may vary depending on the products used.

Did you make this recipe?

Please leave a comment on the blog or share a photo on Instagram

With this recipe, you’ll be able to make your own delicious KFC-style fried chicken right in the comfort of your kitchen.

Just follow along with these detailed instructions and enjoy all the flavors of the Colonel without any hassle!

air fryer fried chicken

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Air Fryer Fried Chicken KFC Copycat 2

Sally

Sunday 22nd of May 2022

Pretty good recipe for fried chicken. I read some of the comments about it being "bland", so I went heavier on the spices. I also added about 1/2 cup Texas Pete to the buttermilk. The flavor was great! Next time I will refrigerate the breaded chicken for a bit t9 see if the breading adheres better-that works for my country fried steak.

Kim S

Thursday 28th of April 2022

I read thru all the comments and based on that I made some changes but stayed true to the recipe as written. My changes were: cooked at 360 for 25 minutes, no parchment used, instead I sprayed the AF basket with oil and mostly nothing stuck. I also went with a lighter coating hoping it wouldn't slide off as some people said happened. I used a lot less flour (we're gluten free, so I used BRM brand) and about the same amounts seasonings called for. It was definitely not bland but definitely not as crispy as I'd have liked. Thanks for this overall good recipe! I will try it again, but with different flours to see if I can get it good and crispy!

J. Miles

Saturday 12th of March 2022

My parchment paper also caught on fire!

Mary

Sunday 13th of March 2022

Oh my goodness. Thanks for letting me know. I'm going to have to keep an eye on mine.

rose

Friday 11th of March 2022

Wow, the rudeness of some people!!!

If you don't like it just don't make it again, simple solution.

I think a lot of people don't know how to follow directions or do their "own thing", and then blame it on the recipe.

I sure as heck would not want to go through all the trouble posting a recipe and then take all this abuse.

Mary

Friday 11th of March 2022

Thank you for speaking up.

Wanda

Sunday 6th of March 2022

Hi I made this tonight in my Breville Smart Oven using the air fryer option.

I used chicken breasts that I'd sliced into tenderloin and soaked in buttermilk..they were so moist and the coating while fiddly turned out good for the first attempt.

Will be making this again using a non stick mat of sorts. I sprayed the pieces lightly with olive oil.

Thank you for the recipe

Mary

Monday 7th of March 2022

So glad you enjoyed it.

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